Satellite Communications

HTS Satellite Constellations: A Critical Assessment, 3rd Edition

PUBLISHED: September 2020

Available Licenses: Standard: $4,595 Enterprise: $8,595

  • Report Summary
  • Key Features
  • Table of Contents
  • Supporting Articles

NSR’s latest HTS Satellite Constellations: A Critical Assessment, 3rd Edition report deep dives into satcom feasibility for MEO and LEO orbits within a competitive scope of 5 players who lead the race to launch and showcase business viability. The report is a must-have for any player evaluating the LEO/MEO constellations market: end users, service providers, financers, suppliers, competitors and governments across all regions.

The report bases the analysis on goal-based IRR’s for each constellation to deduce necessary demand and revenue segments in order to close the business case.  The report also depicts risk within each segment to objectively analyze each constellation on the basis of Architectural, CAPEX, and Competitive Strengths.

Given a range of technical and business complexities, LEO and MEO Constellations are inherently difficult to assess. NSR analyzes over 40 parameters to arrive at detailed business models and establishes under which conditions each constellation can succeed. As LEO/MEO constellations hold the promise of expanding the Total Addressable Market amidst a turbulent time for satcom, several challenges still exist in making this reality happen. NSR explicitly states these challenges in this report and the path to profitability. Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Cumulative Revenues, and Net Cash at End-of-Life are target metrics, from which NSR also derives Lifetime Avg. Fill Rates and Weighted Avg. Wholesale Pricing to give the user a clear perspective of fleet use and price elasticity within the system.

The report answers critical questions regarding the Satellite Constellations market:
  • Will all 5 major players SpaceX, OneWeb, mPower, Amazon and Telesat close their business cases?
  • What is the CAPEX, and which ground strategy works with which player?
  • What business models are anticipated to be put in use by each of the players?
  • What is extent of GEO competition anticipated and inherent price-demand elasticity present in each of the constellations?
  • What is the forecast for new revenue segments required to achieve the target IRR and Net Cash (EOL, discounted) to replenish?
Bottom Line: Under what conditions can each MEO/LEO Constellation prove to be commercially viable, and what assumptions must be made to underpin this assessment?

NSR’s HTS Satellite Constellations: A Critical Assessment, 3rd Edition provides a comprehensive assessment of the emerging Non-GEO HTS market through an analysis of the 5 leading players within 15 existing segments of satcom, and the new segments enabled by non-GEO capacity.

The Report Includes:
  • Why non-GEO and Key Attributes
  • The Overall Satcom Market for Non-GEO and Strengths of Each of the 5 Players
  • Current Status of Top 5 Constellation Players
  • Cumulative Wholesale and Service Revenues for Each Market Vertical
  • CAPEX Analysis of Each Constellation
  • Business Feasibility Analysis (Target IRR Goal Based) and Requirement of New Segments
  • Assumptions and Forecast for New Non-GEO HTS Segments
  • Detailed Risk Analysis with Respect to CAPEX, Price Efficiency, GEO Competition, New Revenue Segments and Organizational

Who Should Purchase the Report?
  • Investors/VCs/Finance Professionals – to identify the right investment opportunity
  • Constellation Owners and Satellite Operators – for a competitive assessment
  • Service Providers and Distribution Partners – to assess the future of capacity supply and pricing dynamics
  • Manufacturers and Launch Providers
  • Insurance Companies
  • Ground Segment and User Antenna/Modem Providers
  • Anyone Seeking a Detailed, Bottom Line Assessment of the Viability of HTS Satellite Constellations
Companies and Organizations Mentioned in this Report:

Airbus, Aircom, Airtel, ALCAN, Alibaba, Alphabet (Loon), Amazon, Amazon Web Services, Arianespace, AT&T, Avanti, Bharti Global, Blue Origin, Boeing, BRI, Canada Government, CASC, CASIC, Comcast, DISA (US DoD), Eutelsat, FCC, Fidelity, GalaxySpace, Gartner, Geely, General Dynamics, Gilat, Google, Hughes/HNS, Intellian, Intelsat, Isotropic Systems, ITU, Kymeta, Kythera Space Systems, Maxar/MDA, Microsoft, Mynaric, NBN, NSSL Global, OmniAccess, OneWeb, Qualcomm, Reliance Jio, RSCC, SES, SDA (US DoD), Softbank, Space Norway, SpaceX, Talia, Taqnia, Telefonica, Telesat, Tesla, Thales, ThinKom, UK Government, US DoD, Verizon, and ViaSat.

This report is best combined with the following reports, which are referenced extensively in the current 3rd Edition for use of Orbital Architecture, Throughput, Addressability, Capacity Demand, Revenues and Pricing Datasets.

NSR’s Non-GEO Constellations Analysis Toolkit

NSR’s latest Toolkit on analyzing various facets of each shell of proposed satcom constellations, with insights on orbital architecture, throughput, tracking, addressability, and business case analysis.

NSR’s Global Satellite Capacity Supply and Demand, 17th Edition. (GSCSD17)

NSR’s key report covering all satcom segments across 13 regions, with demand, pricing and revenue forecasts across frequency bands like FSS, GEO-HTS and non-GEO HTS.


Table of Contents

Executive Summary

SpaceX Starlink Business Case

OneWeb Business Case

SES mPower Business Case

Amazon Kuiper Business Case

Telesat Business Case

Bottom Line


  1. Chapter 1: Current Status of Top 5
    1. Architecture
    2. Launch Schedule
    3. Supply Forecast (Actual Throughput)
    4. Manufacturing/Launch Plan and Cost
    5. Anticipated Ground System Costs
    7. Funding Status
    8. Current Play, Assets and Pilots
    9. Frequency Coordination Status
    10. Other Constellations & Expectations
    11. Key Positives and Issues
  2. Chapter 2: Understanding Non-GEO
    1. Why LEO (and MEO)? Where Does GEO-HTS Fall Short?
    2. GEO vs Non-GEO Through the Lens of NSR’s Current Forecast
    3. Factors Enabling LEO (and MEO)
    4. User Terminals and Challenges
    5. Critical Tech –Software Defined, Revenue & Network Management
  3. Chapter 3: Business Models
    1. Assumptions
    2. Preferred Business Segments per Player
    3. Wholesale vs. Service Choice, and Strengths
    4. SpaceX’s Bet on U.S. Rural Broadband
    5. SpaceX’s Bet on U.S. Mil Dedicated Payload
    6. OneWeb’s Bankruptcy and Backhaul Bets
    7. mPower: SES’s Second Gen MEO
    8. Amazon: Bet on Fiber and CDN with Secure Cloud
    9. Telesat’s Wait for Market Entry Timing
  4. Chapter 4: Business Feasibility
    1. Methodology – Goal Based Analysis and Financial Modelling
    2. Goal Based Analysis: Target Metrics to Close Each Player’s Business Case
    3. Current Satcom Revenues and their Target IRRs for Each Player
      1. New Segments to Close Business Cases
      2. GEO Market Share Capture
      3. Inherent Elasticities
    4. Closing the Business Case & Wild Cards
    5. GEO Competition
    6. Bottom Line: Risk Benchmarking

List of Exhibits 

Executive Summary

ES 1 to ES 5: Key Parametric Analysis for SpaceX, OneWeb, mPower, Amazon, Telesat

ES 6: Key Metrics Bottom Line

  1. Chapter 1: Current Status of Top 5
    1. Architecture of Top 5
    2. Launch Schedule of Top 5
    3. Supply Forecast (Actual Throughput) of Top 5
    4. Manufacturing/Launch Plan and Cost of Top 5
    5. Anticipated Ground System Costs of Top 5
    6. Total CAPEX of Top 5
    7. Funding Status of Top 5
    8. Current Play, Assets and Pilots of Top 5
    9. Frequency Rights of Top 5
  2. Chapter 2: Understanding Non-GEO
    1. Wholesale and Service Revenues for GEO and Non-GEO Across 5 Major Satcom Verticals
  3. Chapter 3: Business Models
    1. Preferred Business Segments per Player on 15 Existing Satcom Segments
    2. Wholesale vs. Service Business Model Choice per Player per Vertical
    3. Technical/Business Strengths per Player per Vertical
    4. SpaceX’s Assumptions towards U.S. Rural Broadband
    5. SpaceX’s Assumptions towards U.S. Military Dedicated Payload
    6. Attributes of MEO and Comparison with LEO
    7. Amazon’s Bet on Fiber + CDN Secure Cloud Assumptions
    8. Amazon’s Bet on Fiber + CDN Secure Cloud Customer Segmentation
    9. Attributes of LEO and GEO-LEO Synergy
    10. Choice of New Business Segment per Player
  4. Chapter 4: Business Feasibility
    1. Target Metrics from Goal Based Analysis per Player
    2. Target IRR from Current Satcom Revenues per Player
    3. Target IRR from New Segment Revenues per Player
    4. Target IRR from GEO Market Share Capture per Player
    5. % Elastic Margin per Player for Segments Backhaul, Trunking, VSAT and Consumer BB
    6. Addressability vs. Market Penetration for Backhaul and Consumer BB
    7. Wild Cards and Impact on Business Case per Player
    8. GEO Competition per Player per Vertical
    9. Risk Benchmarking per Player across Price, New Segments and on Organizational Basis


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